Lonely Planet Writer

Live your wine snob dreams at a new tasting room at the restaurant from Sideways

Wine-lovers in California will soon have a new must-visit spot as the restaurant made famous by the 2004 film Sideways opens up a new tasting room.

Winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini. Image by Jeremy Ball

The restaurant Hitching Post 2 in Buellton, California got a massive tourism boost after it was featured in the black comedy that centred on a wine aficionado played by Paul Giamatti. The film follows two men as they travel through Santa Barbara wine country on a holiday and the Hitching Post 2 is their favourite spot. The film was released to critical acclaim and Academy Award nominations (securing the award for Best Adapted Screenplay), and not only did it raise the profile of California wines – particularly those made with pinot noir – it made the restaurant a major stop in Santa Barbara wine country.

Santa Ynez wine country. Image by ©S. Greg Panosian/Getty Images

Now, Frank Ostini, the owner and chef at the Hitching Post 2 has announced that his winery, Hitching Post Wines, will open its first-ever wine tasting room next to the restaurant. Ostini, along with winemaker Gray Hartley, has been producing wine since 1979 with a focus on local pinot noir. The new tasting room, which is expected to open this summer, will give visitors a chance to try out rare single-vineyard bottlings and special older vintages of Hitching Post Wines. Currently, the winery has 1200 barrels and produces about 17,000 cases a year. Ostini and Hartley say they are focused on creating wines that put a “slice of Santa Barbara in each glass.”

If you’re more intrigued by the prospect of food, there will also be a chance to get a bite at the new tasting room. The restaurant is described as “West Coast BBQ” and has a focus on steak and barbecued meat, though the menu for the new spot has not been released.

If this new tasting room has you dreaming of a trip to wine country, find out the top wine destinations in the US for 2018.